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Target To Close Nine Stores In U.S. Due To Violence And Theft

Discount retailer Target (TGT) says it’s closing nine stores in major U.S. cities due to rising incidence of violence and organized retail theft.

The company is closing one store in New York City, two locations in Seattle, three stores in San Francisco, and three more in Portland. Target said it will close all nine stores on October 21 of this year.

In a news release, Target said: “We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests…”

Target, which has nearly 2,000 stores in the U.S., has been outspoken about organized retail crime at its locations. It has said that theft has driven higher levels of “shrink,” which is an industry term used to describe losses from goods that are damaged, misplaced or stolen.

When the company reported its second-quarter earnings this year, executives said shrink is expected to reduce Target’s full-year profitability by more than $500 million U.S.

Other retail executives have also complained about theft and violence at their store locations. American retailers and trade associations are now pushing for the passage of legislation in Washington, D.C. called the “Combating Organized Retail Crime Act.”

The legislation proposes stiffer penalties for theft offences and calls for a change in the threshold prosecutors must meet before bringing federal theft cases.

Target said that it has taken a variety of steps to stop crime at its stores, including adding locked cases for some merchandise and hiring security guards.

Beyond shrink, Target has also struggled for more than a year with challenges that include a glut of unsold inventory and a pullback in consumer spending on discretionary items.

Target’s stock has declined 26% over the last 12 months and currently trades at $109.48 U.S. per share.